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How to manage your comments

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Finding it challenging or overwhelming to manage your comments? You're in good company, friend! Engaging with the comments on blog posts, social media posts, or other content you've created can be tricky, but it's an essential part of communicating on behalf of your business. In this post, I'm sharing why it's so important to manage your comments, tips for navigating challenges in your comments, and simple strategies for building community in your comments.



Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Why it's essential to manage your comments
  3. Navigating challenges in your comments
  4. How to build community in your comments
  5. Let's take action
  6. Share this post

 


 

The Comments section.

Do I even need to say it, friend? It’s a jungle out there.

So unpredictable, so potentially overwhelming.

Intimidated? Don’t be.

Read on for a field guide to help you manage your comments:


Why it's essential to manage your comments

So, you've created an outstanding piece of content. Written with a clear message in mind. You've included a specific call-to-action, encouraging the people to engage.

And engage they do.

Most of the comments are genuine, enlightening, connecting. (Others are... less so.)

With so many tasks on your To Do list, it's easy to overlook responding to the engagement on your blog, social media posts, and other content.

Especially when the spammers and s%&#-stirrers come calling. (More on that below.)

But, it's essential that you manage your comments.

Why?

Because there, in the midst of it all, is your dream client (not to mention professional allies, potential collaborators and referral sources).

Seated right up front, Like-ing your post, sharing their thoughts...

(And, yes, witnessing how you navigate all the wild comments, too.)

This is copywriting, too, friend:

How you choose to respond to the responses to your content.

It might be “micro” in length, but trust me:

It communicates a lot (about you + your biz) to the people who matter to you.

 

Navigating challenges in your comments


Chances are, most of the time, your content will generate deep engagement: Thoughtful comments that can blossom into genuine connections and spark meaningful conversation (and inspire fresh content if you're paying attention!).

But, there's no getting around it:

Sometimes, challenging scenarios crop up in the midst of all that goodness. And how you manage your comments in the face of those challenges communicates a whole lot about you + your business, so it's wise to plan ahead.

Here are some common culprits:

SPAM comments

Random plugs for cryptocurrency and magical herpes cures on your post about... parenting?

What gives?

Unfortunately, we can't control who lands on our content (or what they choose to say once they're there). And this can be stressful when we're already trying our best to stay on top of the genuine comments we receive. 

My suggestion? 

When a SPAM comment appears on your blog post, YouTube video or social media post, choose one of the following courses of action (and then move on):

  • Ignore the comment: This is obviously the simplest option as it involves, well, no effort on your part. If you're pressed for time and faced with the choice between engaging with a genuine comment or a SPAM comment, then you should definitely choose the genuine one! But, if the thought of a lone comment (even a random one) hanging out there with no response, then you might want to choose one of the remaining options...  
  • Delete the comment: This is a perfectly acceptable option, especially if the comment is so distracting or off-topic that it detracts from your content or your overall brand messaging. Personally, I usually don't delete comments (with the clear exceptions to this noted below); I prefer to ignore them or, when it makes sense to, respond.   
  • Respond to the comment: If you're really trying to make the most of the comments on content you share (and I believe we all should be), then why not try this little reframe? Even SPAM comments offer the opportunity to communicate something of value to our people. (I recently shared more about this in a Question of the Week video over on Instagram.) Basically, at a minimum, I try to thank the commenter for stopping by (yep, even if you think it might be a ghost account or bot). And once in awhile, I'll have a little fun with my response (though never at the expense of the commenter). You never know who's paying attention! Take this example of a comment on an Instagram post about generating free referrals:


    The comment was clearly not about the post itself; it was trying to promote a cure for herpes.

    So, why bother responding?

    A few reasons: 1) I saw an opportunity to subtly link the conversation back to the topic of the post: referral sources, 2) Within reason, I like to respond to every comment on my post, and 3) This was a chance to communicate to my dream clients and professional allies that, while I'm serious about my business and the content I share, I don't take myself or my place on this platform so seriously that I can't have fun with it. 

    And, sure enough, one of my dream clients, Carolyn, chimed in with a clear acknowledgement that my people are watching. ;)

 

Vague offers to "collab"

These comments notoriously surface in the DMs, but you've probably encountered them in the comments on your content, too.

Whether it's a "hey, girl! {fire emoji}" or a "love the value you bring!", these comments tend to be generic in substance and give off a distinct air of inauthenticity.

Often, they come from an account that you're not connected to and include an invitation to follow up with an email or DM for some type of "opportunity". 

Now, how you determine which opportunities to follow up on is entirely up to you, friend, but here's my general advice for managing this type of comment:

  • Decide if/how you want to respond: Again, you're under no obligation to respond at all. (See the advice above re. SPAM comments for potential options.)
  • Have some templated comment replies ready to use: If you'd like to respond, a simple "Thanks for being here!" usually is sufficient. If there's an invite to follow up on their account, you can respond by saying, "Thank you! I'll take a look." (I only do this if I actually intend to visit their account, BTW. Otherwise, I simply say thanks.) No need to promise anything more than that. Remember: This is your internet real estate they're commenting on; you get to set your own boundaries for how you manage what happens there.
  • Prepare an in-depth response to use as needed: Let's say you continue the conversation outside of the Comments section of the original post. It can be helpful to have some additional response templates handy for gathering more information about the collaboration they're proposing, discussing a terms/fee, graciously declining, etc. (This is a whole other topic, of course, but it often begins in the comments, so be prepared. ;)      

Unreasonable requests

Boundary-setting is a fluid process, in "real life" and online.

Sometimes you won't recognize a need for a boundary until it's been challenged or crossed. 

One way this can manifest is through requests in your comments that exceed the scope of what you can reasonably manage there. For instance, requesting guidance that you'd typically provide only in the container of a paid session or  program.

In these cases, it's a good idea to have some responses prepared, so you can acknowledge the request and gently (but clearly) direct the commenter to the appropriate forum for accessing your help.

(This is also a boundary you can set proactively, say, in a Disclaimer highlight on your Instagram account or section of your blog or YouTube channel.

As with everything else we do in our communication as business owners, the key here is to convey warmth, responsiveness, and clarity. Boundaries are essential to the health of your business, and this is one perfectly normal place to clarify and reinforce them. 

 


An important note:

Most likely, the vast majority of comments you'll be managing will be genuine and thoughtful, with a few innocuously odd ones mixed in. In these cases, with empathy and practice, you truly can't go wrong.

Unfortunately, you might also encounter comments that are inherently more challenging, even unsettling.

Here's my unequivocal advice:

You are in no way obligated to hold space for threatening, discriminatory, or harmfully inaccurate comments. In fact, as responsible business owners, it's our responsibility to promote the safety and well-being of all who interact with our content. This means correcting harmful misinformation, actively building a culture of acceptance and belonging, and taking swift steps to block and report commenters who don't respect these basic boundaries.

This is non-negotiable in my opinion. While it undoubtedly holds us to a higher standard in the management of our comments, it also yields a return that is priceless... for the people we serve, the fields we represent, and ultimately, for the health of our businesses. 


        


How to build community in your comments

OK, now that we've covered the challenges, let's move on to some simple ways we can build community in our Comments sections!

Stay on top of your comments

Life is busy, so it can be tricky to keep up with the responses to your content week after week. A few tips to help make this easier on yourself:

  • Don't "post and ghost": Stick around for about 10 to 15 minutes after your post goes live. This will ensure that you're there to greet those first enthusiastic commenters, and it'll help build a foundation of dialogue for new commenters to tap into after you've left. 
  • Set a reminder: One of the best ways to stay on top of your comments is to respond to them consistently throughout the week. Depending on the size of your following and level of engagement, this could mean checking in a few times a week or a few times a day. No need to have alerts switched on or new comments pushed to your devices (I don't); just make sure you're chiming in consistently and it'll help create a sense of community rather than a one-way channel of communication. 
  • Outsource as needed: Finding it hard to keep up with all the comments you're receiving? It might be time to enlist some help. Consider delegating your community management to a virtual assistant or member of your team. 

Be thoughtful

If you've been following my content for awhile, this probably won't surprise you, but I'll mention it anyway:

Aim to make your comment responses as thoughtful and genuine as you reasonably can.

For instance, if you don't have the time for an in-depth response, try to offer a line or two that are specific to that comment or commenter. (Resist the urge to toss up a quick ::prayer hands::, friend.) 

When in doubt, a curious question usually does the trick. Invite the commenter to elaborate and you might be surprised where it leads! 

Personalize it:

I'm no expert in community-building... but I do have one incredible community of healers + helpers engaging with my content week after week.

Even when I had just a tiny following on my blog and social media, my posts generated deep engagement: Enthusiastic, reflective comments from the very people I wrote them for!

I'm proud to say I've seen a lot familiar handles pop up in the Comments section of my posts. Here are a few ways I make my comment responses feel more personalized:

  • Use first names + pronouns: For as long as I've been representing myself as a business owner online, I've held myself to this simple standard: Whenever possible, greet commenters by name. YES, this sometimes means clicking over to their account or website to find out what their first name actually is. NO, there's no great way to speed this step up. YES, I do believe it makes a positive difference in how your response lands with a commenter. (And while you're at it, take note of their pronouns so you can use these correctly, too.) This might take some getting used to if you haven't been doing it, but trust me, it becomes second-nature after awhile. (And BONUS: Typing out a commenter's name instantly helps connect you back to their humanity... which is always a good thing.)      
  • Use their brand emojis: This is admittedly a bit extra, but I like to sprinkle in a commenter's brand emojis if I know them. It takes no time at all, and it subtly signals to them that you're paying attention and you value their presence and contribution to your online space.   
  • Create conversations: Sooner or later, themes will start emerging in the comments on your posts. When this happens, I like to tag commenters in my responses to help keep the conversation going and facilitate connections among them. Again, it takes a bit more effort, but you'll be amazed by the richness of the discussions it can spark!

 


Recommended resources 

Now that you know how to manage your comments, how's the rest of your social media looking? Check out these blog posts:

 


Let's take action!

Ready to take action on what you learned in this post? (I like your style!)

  1. Choose 1 of the strategies in this post to start implementing in your Comments section(s) today! 
  2. Sign up for the (FREE) #5DayAboutPage Challenge
  3. Looking for 1:1 support with your website copy? Learn more about my Copy Closure Sessions + see if one might be right for you!



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